Belfast Telegraph

Criminal gang behind cannabis factory, court is told

An organised criminal gang was behind a drugs factory discovered in Co Down, a court has heard.

Phat Suong Chim (46) and Tuyem Kim Nguyen (24) appeared in court yesterday following the seizure of cannabis plants with an estimated value of up to £500,000.

The defendants, both of Main Street, Greyabbey, were charged with having and cultivating cannabis, and possession with intent to supply on August 23.

A detective constable told a special sitting of Ards Magistrates Court that he believed he could connect both defendants to the charges.

Mr Chim's lawyer applied for bail, saying that the married father-of-four had been living in the UK for 20 years.

He said that while he owned a restaurant and the seven rooms above it, he had sub-let them and was not aware of what was going on.

 Police objected to the application, saying that they believed an organised criminal gang was behind the drugs factory, and that Mr Chim would abscond.

The policeman added that Ms Nguyen was found with a bank book containing Mr Chim's details, and this book was linked to “expanding the factory”.

Mr Chim's lawyer said that his account details were in the book because that was how the tenants paid him rent.

It was also noted that, when it was discovered, the cannabis had not been harvested, but it would have fetched between £350,000 and £500,000 on the street.

Mr Chim was refused bail.

Ms Nguyen, who did not apply for bail, was also remanded.

They are both due to appear in court again next month.

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